Withering the citizen, managing the consumer: complaints in healthcare settings

Allsop, Judith and Jones, Kathryn (2008) Withering the citizen, managing the consumer: complaints in healthcare settings. Social Policy and Society, 7 (2). pp. 233-243. ISSN 1474-7464

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Abstract

This paper considers concepts of citizenship and consumerism in light of complaints about healthcare, which have risen since the early1990s, due to a greater willingness by the healthcare user to complain, and also the reforms in complaint systems. The narrow legal model for dealing with complaints has been replaced by a managerial model based on corporate sector practice that views complaint handling as a way of retaining customers and organisational learning. The managerial model has proved difficult to embed into the English NHS and has been superposed with a centralised regulatory system that aims to manage performance while also being responsible for reviewing, complaints and being responsive to complainants. It is argued that this may have positive consequences in terms of improving healthcare quality but more negatively, the promotion of consumerism within complaints processes has led to a loss of the right to due process and public accountability.

Additional Information:This paper considers concepts of citizenship and consumerism in light of complaints about healthcare, which have risen since the early1990s, due to a greater willingness by the healthcare user to complain, and also the reforms in complaint systems. The narrow legal model for dealing with complaints has been replaced by a managerial model based on corporate sector practice that views complaint handling as a way of retaining customers and organisational learning. The managerial model has proved difficult to embed into the English NHS and has been superposed with a centralised regulatory system that aims to manage performance while also being responsible for reviewing, complaints and being responsive to complainants. It is argued that this may have positive consequences in terms of improving healthcare quality but more negatively, the promotion of consumerism within complaints processes has led to a loss of the right to due process and public accountability.
Keywords:healthcare, consumer complaints
Subjects:L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:6964
Deposited On:26 Nov 2012 17:56

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